“3-2-1…. Finish strong! You got this! Remember why you showed up today! You’re going to feel so good when we’re done today—you’re stronger than you think you are!”
That’s a common shout out I give while leading a cycling class, especially towards the end when it’s tough. I say these things to my class because I know it’s true, and I know if they push through to the end they will feel good accomplished and proud of themselves.
Now, let’s fast forward to later in their day. They are working on a project at work but just can’t focus. The deadline is coming, but the eyes are glazed over from looking at the same document and they’ve lost all their initial excitement they had when starting the project. Or they’re a mom at home and the kids are screaming. They just feel like completing any sort of task is impossible. Then, they remember their morning workout… that was seemingly impossible too. But, they made it!
When you exercise you feel good about yourself. Accomplished, sweaty, proud. You have crossed something off your to-do list for the day. When you feel good, you do good. When you do good, others notice and you become an example. You think about what else you can accomplish that day. You know that since you made it through that you can make it through many other things.
This weekend I was pushed to my limits. I kept thinking to myself, “Why now? Why THIS weekend?” I completed a Les Mills certification training. If you’ve ever been to one, you know what it’s like, and you know how physically and mentally exhausting it can be. The program I’m working towards certification in is called RPM, a form of cycling class. So, as you can imagine there was a lot of cardio and muscle building that occurred.
This weekend I was also confronted with a cold. It was like a cold I’ve never had before though. My nose wasn’t runny, my body wasn’t achy or had the chills, but my throat was screaming at me. It felt like there were razor blades in it, and my regular breathing would sometimes sound like a snore. Attractive, right?!
Heavy breathing in a throat, chest and ears that felt like there were shards of glass in it was about the worst feeling ever. That paired with being unsure of exactly what to expect from the training, other than knowing we would need to keep our energy up as we were going to be pushed to our max both mentally and physically created a bit of nervousness and fear.
I kept thinking to myself, “just get through this. Just power through.” As the weekend went on, I began to answer the initial questions I asked myself when I woke up Saturday morning, voiceless and painful to swallow. Why now? Why THIS weekend? Why to me?
I realized that if I can survive this weekend, I can not only survive but EXCEL once I start feeling healthy. Fitness and pushing ourselves to our limits has this weird way of empowering us in every aspect of life. It creates a ripple effect.
Now, take it one step further. If you go through your fitness with a buddy, or in this case a group of women going through the training, then imagine the bonds that are made. They’ve been where you’ve been, they’ve seen you struggle, work through that point where you think you can’t keep going, and come out the other side stronger than ever. The poor ladies that were in the training with me saw me at my most vulnerable—I was wheezing (seriously!),coughing and just a big mess all while taking a stab at something new, and learning the new program with them. Because of this weekend of us being together and pushing past our limits, not only do we have a special bond, but we know we can call on each other when times might get a little difficult. They’ve got my back, and I’ve got theirs.
Physical fitness certainly is not the end all, be all for your health, or the quality of person you are. How you look on the outside, whether you have 6 pack abs or toned triceps doesn’t determine that you’re a good friend, a good employee, kind, caring, someone who puts out good in the world and are someone other people want to be around. Physical fitness, exercise, working out… whatever you prefer to call it… is the launching pad of becoming the best version of yourself.
Don’t believe me? I dare you to try it right now. Get up out of your seat, give your arms a shake and do 30 seconds of movement--- anything—lunges, squats, jumping jacks. Feel better? Has that mental block been disrupted? Did your energy go from zero to hero (or maybe somewhere in between)?
Are you ready to launch into your best self? 2017 can be the year, and I can help get you there. Visit Live Well With Kell to learn more about how ’ll give you all the tools you need to be successful. Ultimately, it’s up to you to stay tough, stay strong, be compassionate and honest with yourself, and push those excuses aside… I won’t give up on you, and you don’t give up on yourself!
Enjoy this guest blog post from Stephanie Fischer!
It was winter time during my junior year of college. I was working part time at the YMCA teaching a “Total Body Conditioning” class at 5:30 in the morning, three days a week. I’ve always been a light sleeper and while my true nature isn’t to be a morning person, I pop right out of bed when my alarm goes off and I need to be somewhere. Dependable, punctual, and responsible...that’s me!
Well, most of the time.
I’d gone to stay at my parent’s house because my roommates at the time refused to turn up the heat. They thought it was reasonable to walk around our apartment in coats and mittens.
I did not.
Let’s just get this straight right now. There are certain things in life that are worth paying for. Heat, air conditioning, and internet definitely all make my short list.
Back to my story, being under my parent’s roof and in my old bedroom again must have affected my sleep on that Friday morning because I slept right through my alarm. I woke up to see that it was past 6:00am and I’d completely missed my class.
Man, if that isn’t one of the crappiest feelings in the world. Panic followed by embarrassment and then shame. Some of the worst emotions a human can experience and they’re all coming at you in your first moments of consciousness. Even before coffee.
I emailed my supervisor to tell her what I’d done, explained that it was a total fluke, I was soooo sorry and it would never EVER happen again.
Then it happened again the following Monday on the very next time I was scheduled to teach.
I remember opening my eyes that morning and knowing something was wrong. Scared to even look at the clock I just started saying “no no no no no no this can’t be happening”....but it was definitely happening. I had missed class for the second time in a row. There was only one thing to do.
Bawl my eyes out.
I don’t remember if I got in trouble at work or even how it went when I finally did show up to teach my class the following Wednesday. I never missed a class again and yet a year or so later when I was leaving the Y, my class got me a goodbye present...
It was an alarm clock.
Of course, it was a joke and we all had a laugh. Those back to back missed classes had become known as “that time Steph went on a bender”. They all got a kick out of that. (I pretended I thought it was funny)
This is a very small example but isn’t that the way it goes? You can show up to teach a class hundreds of times over the course of a few years and yet when it comes down to the end, the thing you’re most remembered for is your “bender”, the time (okay, two times) you messed up.
I can laugh at it now because, trust me, I’ve messed up many times and far worse in the last decade. This story doesn’t even make my list of regrets anymore. But it is a good illustration for self-compassion.
We are so good at taking incidents we regret, mistakes that we’ve made and making them a part of who we are instead of just something we did. We lay in bed at night obsessing over our missteps and using them as evidence for our lack of worth.
Why can’t we show ourselves some compassion?
I’ve found one way to get better at it and it actually starts by practicing compassion for others. I’m reminded of the quote; “When someone does something wrong, don’t forget all the things they did right.”
Nowadays, I am in charge of all the group classes at the Y. Every once in a while, an instructor sleeps through their early morning class and I am the recipient of that panicked, embarrassed, shame filled text or email message.
The funny thing is I actually love when this happens. The group fitness manager part of me doesn’t love it but the human part of me does. I love that I get the chance to show compassion to another human who is probably not expecting it.
I know from experience that they’re already beating themselves up so I can skip that part. All I need to do in that moment is remind them that they’re human and that yes, they screwed up, but they don’t deserve the punishment they’re giving themselves.
I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts the other day (Happier with Gretchen Rubin) and she said this; “Part of being an adult is living with regret.”
Wow. Isn’t that the truth? Just face it. You’re never going to stop messing up. You’ll never be perfect. Neither will the people around you.
Giving someone else compassion, especially when they aren’t expecting it, feels nothing short of heroic. A day or two after I’d shown compassion to an instructor who’d accidentally slept through her class, she sent me an email thanking me for my words that day. How easy was that?
So if you’re in a position to take someone’s burden off of their shoulders, do it immediately if not sooner. And while you’re at it, why don’t you also do the same thing for yourself?
Be your own hero.
Show yourself the same compassion you would show to another. Stop looking outward for absolution and just give it to yourself. Because the truth is, we’re all doing the best we can. Sometimes the best we can is good enough, sometimes it more than good enough. But other times that same “best we can” misses the mark. Why can’t we let that go?
The truth is, we can let it go. We just have to change the story we tell ourselves. The story that who we are is a sum of the things we’ve done. We aren’t the incredible things we’ve done and we aren’t the terrible things we’ve done either. We’re so much more than that.
You make mistakes but you’re still a really good person just like I make mistakes but I’m still a really good person.
In my self-confidence course for women, I talk a lot about self-care. Self-compassion is the ultimate form of self-care.
I don’t have the keys to unlock women from their prisons of guilt and shame but throughout my course, I give them tools to help them look within themselves and remember where they hid those keys. That way, they are able to unlock themselves and finally be free.
The next offering of my course begins on January 1st and I’d love for you to join.
For more info, visit www.howetofitness.com/confidence or send me a message at Howe-To Healthy Living and I’d be happy to answer your questions!
Yum!! I tried a new recipe the weekend and I feel it is my duty to share.
Some side notes in making this recipe:
1) WHY is butternut squash so hard to cut? I was sweating by the time I got all done.
2) PJ will not touch this soup-- he thinks it looks like baby food.
3) Besides cutting the squash, it was so easy to make! I decided to freeze half the batch for future meal prep too.
My version of the recipe was inspired by: Goodful.
For the soup:
1 Butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
Drizzle olive oil
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon coriander
¼ teaspoon cayenne (can leave it, this give it a bit of a kick!)
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon thyme
¼ cup of milk (I used almond milk)
For the optional garnish:
1. Place squash pieces, onion, and garlic into a slow cooker.
2. Drizzle with olive oil and add vegetable or chicken broth.
3. Sprinkle over ginger, coriander, cayenne, sea salt, and pepper.
4. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on high heat for 4 hours.
5. Using a hand blender, blend the ingredients until smooth (if you do not have a hand blender, you can transfer the ingredients to a regular blender (I used the Ninja) or food processor, just be careful when blending hot liquids!).
6. Add thyme and coconut milk and blend for a few more seconds until incorporated.
7. Garnish with chives and pumpkin seeds (optional).
Life, it's been good to me. I've been fortunate to be raised in a home filled with love, respect, laughs, and memories. I never went hungry, or lacked opportunites. I didn't get everyhting handed to me, and learned the value of hard work and an earned dollar. I grew up, moved out of that home and got an education where I met many of my greatest friends, while still mainting my hometown faves. I graduated from college and got a job that I loved. I met a guy, one that exceeded any of my visions of what a "good guy" would be like, and now we're getting married.
Life... it's been great to me.
For that, I am so very thankful. If I'm having trouble at night falling asleep and feeling tense, rather than counting sheep, I count my blessings and that knocks me right out.
Through this wonderful life I've been so lucky to have in my brief 29 years here on earth, there's also been some hard times. These recent hard times have been the hardest yet.
Today I'm not here to throw a pity party, to ask for sympathy, or for a shoulder to cry on. Today, I'm here to talk about perspective. Life will throw you some pretty nasty lemons, but in catching those lemons, if you can pause and squeeze them for a minute you just might come out with some pretty decent lemonade.
While life has been so good to me, I can still say that the lemons of life have taught me quite a bit. I (not so happily) switched schools when I was young. I went through some body-image issues growing up, yo-yo-ing from being overweight, to far too skinny for my own good, to more overweight that I was before. I was let go from my first grown-up job. I moved across the country to a place where I knew no one expect PJ, and didn't even have a job. I took a hefty cut in pay and learned what it felt like to truly "just get by." I lost my Dad suddenly and unexpectadly.
A thought that has crossed my mind lately, "What would I be thinking about right now if _____ hadn't happened?" I look at the lemons that life has handed over as a way to look at life through a different lens. Oh how one's persepctive can change when things go from perfect to challenging or tough.
Had I not changed schools at a young age and gone from the shyest kid on the playground to the one that won't shut up, I may have never had the courage to move across the country on a leap of faith. Had I not fought that infamous body image battle, I may not be writing this blog post today... I may not have found my purpose to help others know that they are more beautiful than the make-up they wear, the brands they buy, or the number on the scale. Had I not lost my job, I wouldn't have the deep down belief that it really, truly all works out if you just have a little faith, work hard, be nice, don't burn bridges, and have an open mind.
And had I not lost my Dad, well shoot... who knows what I would be thinking about right now. Would I jump at the chance to spend an afternoon with my mom & aunt tomorrow, or think about the things I have to get done at work? Would I look up in the sky for pretty eagles, or keep my vision close and narrow to what's straight ahead? Would I let the silly things that seemed so important consume my mind, or would I just let them go? Would I even be sharing my vulnerable thoughts and feelings right now, or would I have a fear of what others might think or say?
As odd of a question as it may seem, I think it truly is important to ask yourself "what would I be thinking about right now if _____ didn't happen?" Life can be beautiful, wonderful, and happy, but it can be challenging and tough at times too. It's in appreciating our tough times that the compassion comes through, our new paths are created, our pesective is shifted and the true beauty of life shines through.
You are strong, awesome and powerful. Appreciate the things you have been through in ife.... some things might be the sugar, while others are the lemon. It's all about how you combine them to make your own version of the best lemonade... YOUR lemonade.
They're just like my most recent post about Mondays. You're grateful for them, regardless of what happens in life, they're always there, and they're also that "easy" thing to complain about.
Recently, I was chatting holiday plans with some gals and the conversation turned to splitting time up with family. It occurred to me that my perspective hasn't always matched others when it comes to this topic-- I love my family. I always have. I always will. Maybe I'm truly lucky to have a great one, or maybe it's my perspective... that these people God put into my life are a gift.
Families are a mix of personalities, opinions and quirks. But the beautiful thing about family is that the love is unconditional, and they're always there for you. They may not match some of the people that you choose to be your friends, but they're there for better or worse, through thick and thin, and in happy times and sad. God knows that we are smart at picking out some people in our lives, but there are others that He knew we couldn't do life without so he picked them out for us-- that's family. When one person isn't there, even the quiet ones, the dynamics are different and it just feels different.
The thing about family is that you are the only one that can complain about them or bug them. For example, I will still purposely do things to push my brother's buttons, even at the age of nearly 30. I still risk getting stabbed in the hand with a fork just to see if I can get away with stealing a bite of his food. The thrill of this a lifelong battle I'm determined to win! But, if I hear you saying even the slightest thing negative about him or anyone else in the crew, you can bet I will stand up and defend.
Family can grow, change and evolve... but not matter what, it will always be yours. This year our family is adjusting. We're missing someone at the table. We're missing that funny guy we always love to pick on. A family picture will never be as complete as it was when he was here.
We must move forward though. This Thanksgiving our family will be together. I'm sure there will be tears when thinking of memories past and thinking about what the future holds, but I also know there will be laughs, smiles, and hugs.
This year, my one wish for you at Thanksgiving is to not fall to the easy complaints. Take a step back. Look at the big picture. Know and appreciate the love that is there. Remember, as much as you may complain, the apple doesn't always fall far from that big ol' tree. And listen to this song... cause ain't that the truth!
As I sit here this Monday morning thinking about the week ahead I realize it's natural to feel stressed. There's so much that I have to tackle for work this week, so much to get done to get back on track with coaching, and other fun things to go to here and there throughout the week. As I've gotten older and have started enjoying more and more of what I do, Mondays have been less of a dreaded feeling for me. But every now and then that feeling of "Monday, again?" creeps in. Recently though, my Monday perspective has shifted.
Now, when I look at a Monday I feel okay. Good, you could even say. Happy? Well, sure! Why? Well, not to sound too mushy but each new day we have is a true blessing, each new week is a gift. Before I would hear others say and think "yes, that's nice" but now I think to myself how thankful I am to wake up this morning. The stresses that each week holds really aren't that bad at all. In fact, what if we looked at the things we stress about as things to be thankful for?
- "Ugh, so much to do at work" ------> "I'm thankful I have a job!"
- "We have company coming this weekend and the house is a disaster!" -----> "Thank goodness for the people coming to visit us, and for the roof over my head."
- "I don't have time to workout" -----> "My body is a gift, and I will try my best to take care of it."
.... I could go on, and on.
Today marks the start of week six that we carry on with our lives without Dad. He passed away on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The one thing that keeps popping up in my mind is, what he wouldn't have given to just have one more Monday, one more work week, one more shot at getting to BS with his co-workers, have coffee with his wife before hitting the road, to pet the cats outside, and to visit with all the people he ran into throughout the week... just one more week of going through the motions.
So, today I ask you to do one thing....actually no, make that two.
1) Be thankful. Look at your Monday as a gift rather than a burden. We don't all get a Monday again.
2) Don't just go through the motions. Appreciate the day, be friendly to others, tell someone something nice, notice the beauty that is THIS Monday!
Notice I didn't say taught. Why? Well, one of the biggest lessons I've been learning from yoga is that it's a learning experience... every day, every action, every move, every breath. The journey is never over, the learning never ends. Not just a learning of moves, but a learning of yourself.
In the last couple weeks yoga has been what I've been feeling. It has been my preferred from of exercise. Lifting heavy weights, doing high-intensity workouts and running are all things I'm sure I'll feel like in due time, but right now I'm going to soak up the feeling of gaining strength by slowing it down and stretching it out. I'm finding a newfound strength on the inside that is even greater than the strength being gained on the outside. As many say, yoga is just as much about life as it is about working out and fitness. Here are some of the surprising things I've learned as well as reminders that I've learned about in life:
1) Your thoughts affect you
You better believe they do. Your thoughts are things you tell yourself, and eventually you believe what you tell yourself. So be compassionate to yourself, be patient with yourself, and better yet... be proud of yourself! Talk yourself up to yourself. Find a mantra, or a statement that gives you power from within. Say it often enough and before you know it you'll be feeling it and believing it.
2) Shake it off
Just because you fall down, lose balance or get a little fatigued doesn't mean you can't keep going. Take a step back, a deep breath in, shake it off, and regroup. You don't need to be perfect, but try you must.
3) It's a journey
Start right where you are, and be okay with it. You may make progress as you practice, learn how to adjust along the way, and find enjoyment in the journey of getting there. Just like a roadtrip, half the fun is just getting there.
4) Your best today might not be your best of yesterday or your best for tomorrow
Some days you got it, some days you don't. It is was it is.. but you've showed up, you've tried and you're doing your best. Do your best today, and be okay that "your best" may change from day to day. Life is a series of seasons. In some seasons we excel, others we just maintain, and others we take a step back and just need to regroup. Embrace your season... embrace your best.
Don't just get to a spot, position or pose. Once you get there, explore it a little. Wiggle your toes, twist your wrists, bend your knees. What's right for someone else might not feel right for you, so play around til you find what feels good to you.
6) Focus will help you get there
Focus. Eliminate distractions. Be mindful of your thoughts, of your actions, and focus. When you're distracted, you stumble and fall. When you focus, you gain strength, build a solid foundation and can move forward further and with greater intent.
When I have something I love, I feel the need for others to know more about it, to share it, and to allow others to experience it. For some of you, reading this post may be just what you are looking for, and is all that you need. For others, you may be curious, you may want to find out what you can learn from yoga. Will you learn some things that I didn't mention here? How will your journey be different? I encourage you to explore that curiosity, and I want to help you.
Join me for a FREE 30 Day Yoga Challenge. I have some yoga videos that I love and can do in the comfort of my very own home. Interested in joining me on this journey? Fill out this form and I'll hook you up with the free workouts + the accountability group that we'll all be a part of to share what we have learned. We are starting on Monday, October 3rd! You in?
In just two week's time, I've changed drastically. You might not see it when you look at me, except for maybe some new wrinkles on my forehead or some heftier bags under my eyes, but I've changed. I know these changes are good changes, changes that will make me a better person, live a more thoughtful life, but how these changes occurred is something I wish upon no one.
On Sunday September 4th 2016, my family lost one of our greatest assets, one of our brightest lights, one of our strongest, funnest, sweetest, most caring, goofy and genuine members... my father. It was quick, unexpected and just plain not fair. The wound is fresh, the tears are often, the moments of anger pop up from time to time, but more than that are the dear memories I hold in my heart and the restored strength of my faith. The guilt is there during the times when I smile or let out a laugh, the waves of sadness come in strong, but I know it's all a part of the process.
Since my dad passed away I've changed. I feel more. I feel deeper. I understand differently. My words have more meaning. Some things matter more to me, and some things matter less... much, much less. My patience for some things is much greater while at the same time I have patience for far less. Out of all of this, I think I understand my Dad better. As I've been growing into adulthood I was appreciating him more and more... and now I appreciate him completely.
My Dad was a year or two younger than I am now (I'm 29) when he suddenly lost his brother. As a teenager he lost his mother. When I was very young girl, he also lost his father. So, while I can't fathom the amount of grief, sadness and loss that he felt three times... I think I now have a glimpse of it in losing him. And I think I finally understand him.
I get why my Dad would say hi to anyone and everyone. I understand why his five minute hello would turn into a 45-minute sit down chat. I understand why the words, "well, I guess I just don't worry about it" rolled so easily off his tongue. I get why he judged no one and was kind to everyone. For the man that I couldn't ever quite figure out, I think I get him now.
He knew how bad it felt and how much it hurt to lose a parent. He knew how deep the pain goes of losing someone you love. But through that pain he knew what mattered most, and he cared so deeply about those that are still here. I remember my sister and I talking once and just saying "How does Dad not worry about stuff?" And I get it now. Why worry? When life could change in literally the blink of an eye, why worry. Why worry about what people think of you. Why worry about what might happen if you do or don't something. That's easier said than done... but I think I get it now.
My dad was a kind, generous, thoughtful man. He paid attention to people, said hi to everyone, cared deeply and loved with all his heart. Maybe you didn't always know or immediately see how much he cared, but those moments where you got a glimpse of it are what stuck with you, what would make your heart melt, and would just make you look at him in a different, sweeter light. Through his stereotypical Irish temper was a man who put his family first, who loved and honored his wife, who was proud of his kids and loved picking on his grand-kids. He wouldn't say a bad word about anyone (expect for the %#@&%*! drivers downtown) for the integrity of that person, and always kept it in perspective... except when he couldn't find his $%&#@$ screwdriver that HE JUST SET DOWN. He put anyone and everyone before himself, he would help me out at the drop of a hat and "Dad! Come here!" and who's own schedule didn't matter if you were calling him in a time of need... or buying a new car.
He loved selflessly and gave his time and energy to those who mattered most to him, or to strangers who just seemed nice. Looking at his life from a "normal person's" perspective, you would say he had a lot of not-so-awesome days.... got walked all over a time or two, loved and lost, and got let go of a job where he put nearly 40 years of his life into. He had aching knees, hips and shoulders from that job, and worked harder for his family than anyone I know. He earned every single buck he made and did everything he could for my mom, for us kids, and for our family. We didn't take extravagant vacations, or have the newest and best of everything, but he was at every game, at every event. He patiently sat in the stands when it was a gruelingly long band concert or a game where his kids (except for Chris) lacked any sort of real athletic ability. He made the most of it.... WE made the most of it. To my dad, so much more mattered than how much money was in the bank account or what material things we had. What mattered most to him was putting a smile on our faces, creating a comfortable, happy home for us to live in, and teaching us the things that life taught him.
After all these years, I think I finally get my Dad. I get why he loved everyday, I get why he gave with all his heart, why he worked so hard, why he never held a grudge and why he had such a great sense of humor. He was the way he was, because why else would one want to live any differently? The man had it figured out... and I think I'm getting it figured out too. You never know what someone else is going through, so just be nice to them anyway. You never know if your last day might be just around the corner, so do it anyway. You never know where that opportunity could lead, so do it anyway. You just never know... so why not. Why not make that stranger smile? Why not become friends with the car guy? Why not take your wife out on a fun day-date? Why not crawl around on the floor with your grand kids? Why not make someone's day a little better?
I think I finally get why my Dad was the way he was... because he's been where I am right now. And he knows.. no one should ever feel this way, but if they have to, they should know how loved they were. I know I do. So have a little empathy, show a little respect, offer a hug and a kind word, quit being a sissy and fearing things that just don't matter, forget what people think of you, and make the most of each day. Find what you love to do, be okay that it may change over time, and leave a legacy to be proud of.
Dad, for a simple man you were always someone that just made me wonder. But I get it now. I get you. And I thank you for all that you've taught me....
Love you forever, and ever, Amen.
1) PACK A WATER BOTTLE
I bring an empty water bottle with me. Why pay $2.00+ per bottle of water when you can bring your own bottle with you? When traveling I find that I tend to stay much less hydrated, and I finally figured out why. It’s because I’d just buy one bottle of water for the travel day and that’s what I would drink.. I would try to make it last the whole day so I wouldn’t have to go through the hassle of buying another one. Ever since I started bringing my own water bottle I’ve noticed just how much better it makes me feel when traveling. Plus, now there are some fountains to make filling up your bottle super easy.
2) BRING A SNACK
I pack some travel snacks. I don’t bring a ton because it’s not fun to carry around extra food, but it’s also not fun to eat junk that doesn’t make me feel good, or pay $12 for a “salad” of iceberg lettuce, cheddar cheese, a cucumber slice and ranch. I bring Shakeology with me. It makes me feel good. It provides more nutrients for my body than any food I can find in the airport and I have found time after time that it is more cost effective to bring this with me rather than get a sugar-filled coffee drink or smoothly.
3) TAKE A PICTURE TO REMEMBER THINGS
Think about it, you’re in a new place, there’s a lot going on, and sometimes it’s just hard to keep all those numbers and direction straight. But, what is one thing that most people always have with them? Their phone. So rather than writing down information on a piece of paper that could eventually get lost, just snap a quick picture on your phone.
4) TALK TO YOUR NEIGHBOR, OR AT LEAST SAY HELLO
Everyone has a story. You have a story and your neighbor has a story. I’m not saying be a pesk and ask your neighbor a ton of questions, or force a conversation when you just don’t feel like it. Instead say a friendly hello and you can gage is someone wants to chat some more or don’t. I recently chatted with some fascinating women on my departing flight to New Mexico. You can read about it here.
5) WALK WHEN YOU CAN
Chances are when traveling you’re not moving as much, are a little less hydrated than normal and your eating may feel a little “off.” So, walk as often as you can or feel like. After a day of sitting on our butts, followed by a tasty dinner we seized the opportunity of taking a walk with nice weather enjoying a beautiful sunset. Also, it’s a great way to chat and connect with those you are with. Who doesn’t love a walk ‘n’ talk?!
6) GET TO KNOW SOME OF THE CULTURE
Soak it all in. Open your eyes and look around. What do you notice? How is it like your home? What do you notice that’s different? Ask locals recommendations for best places to sight see, do and… my favorite… eat.
7) EXERCISE DAILY & TAKE CARE OF YOU
Just like walking as often as you can, make some time to move a little whether it be a workout in the gym, take the stairs in the hotel a couple times a day, or work in a few squats or lunges during that walk. Who doesn’t hate “getting back on track” after a trip? You feel a little softer, things jiggle where they don’t normally… but not if you incorporate just a little bit of movement each day or stick as closely to your healthy home routine.
**A bonus tip… have a Bloody Mary, because what fun is people watching at the airport without one?!
....screen time, that is.
Recently a little seed of an idea was planted in my head and ever since I heard about it, it just kept growing more and more. This January I joined a book club called "Better Than Before" based off the Gretchen Rubin book with that exact same title. In the group each of us pick one habit that we are going to work on for the month. While one of the book club member habits intrigued me, I just wasn't quite there yet. I read her blog post about it, admired her... but still I just wasn't ready.
I'm talking about being on my phone.
Honestly, it's always something that has bothered me. If I'm out with friends and notice that we are all on our phone, I will immediately put mine down just because I realize how absolutely silly we look. I feel very fortunate that I'm of the generation who grew up cell-phone-free but also am grateful for this awesome tool we literally have right at our fingertips. I feel as though I can appreciate the lost art of an engaged face to face conversation or know how fun it is to pick up the phone and TALK to someone rather than communication via text for hours on end.
Lately, my own personal phone usage has been bothering more than ever. Last night was the last straw. I always find myself looking at my phone out of sheer habit, whether it be that I'm bored (or I think I'm bored) or I'm procrastinating from completing a task.
Last night though, I could NOT fall asleep. So, I picked up my phone as a way to distract my brain. I thought, "sure, maybe I'll look at this until I'm tired and then I'll fall asleep." But it didn't work. The light bothered my eyes, and it just made my wheels spin more.
So, today starts a new challenge for myself. Tonight, I'm going to turn my alarm on for the morning, plug in my phone and be DONE looking at it by 9:30 p.m. That's it. That's the challenge I'm setting for myself. Seems simple enough, right? We'll see. It's worth a shot and I can't wait to see how it makes me feel.
Other things I am willing to try this week:
-Not be the first one to get out my phone when meeting up with friends
-Call someone this week when I think of them instead of text them
Who's with me? Who's up for the challenge?